Tuesday, September 24, 2019Office of Press Relations
On September 23, 2019, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green met with His Excellency Abdalla Hamdok, Ph.D., Prime Minister of the Republic of Sudan, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Administrator Green welcomed Dr. Hamdok on his first visit to the United States as the new Prime Minister of Sudan, and as his country’s first civilian Head of Government in 30 years. The Administrator assured Dr. Hamdok that the United States remains committed to stand alongside the people of Sudan during this time of enormous opportunity, as they work to achieve their dreams of an open, inclusive, and democratic society.
Abdallah Hamdok says $10bn in direct aid and foreign currency reserves are needed to help the economy recover after recent political instability.
Sudan’s new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has said his country needs at least $10bn in aid to restructure the country’s economy after months of political turmoil.
Hamdok, who is the country’s first civilian prime minister in 30 years will lead the country through its transitory period.
His appointment came after the Transitional Military Council, which deposed long-time leader Omar al-Bashir, reached a power-sharing agreement with civil society groups on August 17.
The new leader said he would approach the World Bank and IMF, as well as ‘friendly’ states in the coming weeks in order to secure the cash.
“We want to take the Sudanese economy from an economy based on consumption and imports to a productive economy, and stop exporting products such as livestock and agriculture as raw materials,” Hamdok said
An immediate priority will be to sure up the country’s foreign currency reserves. “We are in communication to achieve this,” he added.
While the leader has insisted such funds will come without strings attached, the IMF usually attaches conditions such as fiscal conservatism to its loans.
Kaan Devecioglu of the Association of Researchers on Africa (AFAM) organisation said Sudan risked entering into a debt spiral if it overburdened itself with loans.
“The transfer of resources, which beings in the form of aid, turns into a debt spiral for developing countries,” he said.
Even before the unrest that brought down Bashir, Sudan’s recent history has been replete with wars and political instability, that have seriously impacted its economy.
Muhammed Tandogan vice-President of AFAM told TRT World that Sudan needed to use its resources more efficiently to steady its finances.
“Sudan needs to actively use other resources, for example, it has the capacity to meet 90 percent of its own electricity needs with wind energy,” he said.
“The Sudanese government needs to meet with employers, public, universities and civil society representatives to run the process in line with the economy’s immediate action, medium-term and long-term development programs,” he added.
“In order to ensure equality of opportunity in the market, action plans should be developed to ensure fair sharing of resources to the public.”
Sudan’s opposition alliance has chosen 61-year-old economist Abdullah Hamdok as prime minister, the first civilian to hold the post in 30 years.
He was sworn in late Wednesday in the first step towards implementing a power-sharing agreement between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) and will serve for three years and three months, after which elections are scheduled to be held.
Hamdok, who also holds British citizenship, has a PhD and MA in Economics from the School of Economic Studies at the University of Manchester, U.K. and earlier graduated from the University of Khartoum.
He is Sudan’s first civilian prime minister since military officer Omar Al-Bashir seized power in a coup in 1989, toppling elected Prime Minister Alsadig Almahdi and ruling the country for 30 years. Hamdok, who was then working in the finance ministry, was sacked from his position because he was not affiliated with al-Bashir’s Islamic movement. He also turned down al-Bashir’s invitation to head the ministry in 2017.
Hamdok previously worked as principal policy economist for the African Development Bank and was chief economist for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). He also served as director for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), an economic development program of the African Union, and regional director for Africa and the Middle East at International IDEA, an intergovernmental organization that works to support and strengthen democratic institutions and processes around the world.
He also has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of public sector reforms, governance, regional integration and resource management in many African countries including Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ethiopia.
Sudan took further steps in its transition towards civilian rule Wednesday with the swearing in of a new sovereign council, to be followed by the appointment of a prime minister.
The body replaces the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took charge after months of deadly street protests brought down longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.
As a result of Wednesday’s move, it was the first time that Sudan was not under full military rule since Bashir’s coup d’etat in 1989.
The first steps of the transition after the mass celebrations that marked the August 17 adoption of a transitional constitution proved difficult however.
The names of the joint civilian-military sovereign council’s 11 members were eventually announced late Tuesday after differences within the opposition camp held up the process for two days.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who already headed the TMC, was sworn in as the chairman of the new sovereign council in the morning.
Wearing his usual green beret and camouflage uniform, Burhan took the oath in a short ceremony, one hand on the Koran and the other holding a military baton under his arm.
He will be Sudan’s head of state for the first 21 months of the 39-month transition period, until a civilian takes over for the remainder.
The council’s 10 other members were sworn shortly afterwards and Abdalla Hamdok, who was chosen by the opposition last week to be prime minister, was to be formally appointed later Wednesday.
The sovereign council includes two women, including a member of Sudan’s Christian minority, and it will oversee the formation of a government and of a legislative body.
The inauguration of a civilian-dominated ruling council was welcomed by Khartoum residents but many warned the people would keep their new rulers in check.
End of isolation?
“If this council does not meet our aspirations and cannot serve our interests, we will never hesitate to have another revolution,” said Ramzi al-Taqi, a fruit pedlar.
“We would topple the council just like we did the former regime,” he said.
The transition’s key documents were signed on Saturday at a ceremony attended by a host of foreign dignitaries, signalling that Sudan could be on its way to shedding its pariah status.
Sudan’s new rulers are expected to push for the lifting of the suspension from the African Union that followed a deadly crackdown on a sit-in in June.
The ruling council will also seek to have the country removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for his role in massacres in the Darfur region, where a rebellion broke out in 2003.
He appeared in court on Monday — but only on charges of corruption for the opening of a trial in which an investigator said the deposed leader admitted to receiving millions in cash from Saudi Arabia.
Pictures of the 75-year-old autocrat sitting in a cage during the hearing instantly became a symbol of his Islamist military regime’s downfall.
The sight of their former tormentor in the dock was overwhelmingly welcomed by the Sudanese but many warned the graft trial should not distract from the more serious indictments he faces before the ICC.
“The evidence he committed genocide should come forward… Many civilians inside and outside Sudan have died because of him and he should face justice,” one resident, Alhaj Adam, told AFP.
It’s the economy…
Sudan’s transitional authorities would need to ratify the ICC’s Rome Statute to allow for the transfer of the former military ruler to The Hague.
Amidst the euphoria celebrating the promise of civilian rule, unease was palpable within the protest camp that brought about one of the most significant moments in Sudan’s modern history.
One reason is the omnipresence in the transition of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, a member of the sovereign council and a paramilitary commander whose forces are blamed for the deadly repression of the protests.
His Rapid Support Forces sprang out of the Janjaweed militia notorious for alleged crimes in Darfur.
Pacifying a country still plagued by deadly unrest in the regions of Darfur, Kordofan and Blue Nile will be one of the most urgent tasks of Sudan’s transitional institutions.
The other daunting challenge that awaits the fragile civilian-military alliance is the rescue of an economy that has all but collapsed in recent years.
It was the sudden tripling of bread prices in December 2018 that sparked the wave of protests fatal to Bashir’s regime.
Egypt wrapped up a two-day summit with Sudan’s main protest leaders on Tuesday, its foreign ministry said, days before they are due to sign an agreement paving the way for civilian rule in the country.
The “important meeting” brought together the Alliance for Freedom and Change, Sudan’s umbrella protest movement and the driving force behind the protests since December, and the opposition groups of the Sudan Revolutionary Front.
Its objective was “achieving peace” as the long-awaited deal is inked, the ministry said in a short statement on the discussions.
The constitutional declaration scheduled to be formally signed on August 17 outlines the formation of a transitional civilian government and a parliament to govern for a three-year transition period. The agreement stipulates the formation of a joint civilian-military ruling body.
The results of the Cairo discussions will be presented before the leaders of the powerful alliance in Khartoum, the statement added.
Representatives from both sides initial agreement paving way for a transitional government.
4 Aug 2019
Sudan’s ruling generals and protest leaders have signed a constitutional declaration that paves the way for a transition to civilian rule, a hard-fought agreement that came after a long period of negotiations following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in the wake of mass protests.
General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC), and Ahmed Rabie, a protest leader, signed the declaration on Sunday at a ceremony in the capital, Khartoum, that was attended by African Union and Ethiopian mediators.
The document builds on a power-sharing deal agreed to last month and provides for a joint civilian-military ruling body to oversee the formation of a transitional civilian government and parliament to govern for a period of a little more than three years until elections can be held.
The signing was met by a wave of applause in the Khartoum hall as representatives from both sides shook hands.
A formal signing in front of foreign dignitaries is due to take place on August 17 in Khartoum. The following day, the generals and protest leaders are expected to announce the composition of the new transitional civilian-majority ruling council.
A new prime minister, appointed by the main opposition coalition, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), is expected to be named on August 20, The prime minister will be tasked to form the government in consultation with the FFC. However, the defence and the interior ministers will be appointed by the military council.
The cabinet, which will be named on August 28, and the ruling council will meet together on September 1, sources told Reuters news agency, ahead of the appointment of a legislative assembly in three months.
The deal on a constitutional declaration is the fruit of difficult negotiations between the leaders of mass protests which erupted last December against al-Bashir’s three-decade rule and the generals who eventually overthrew him in April.
The talks had been repeatedly interrupted by deadly violence in Khartoum and other cities against demonstrators who have kept up rallies to press for civilian rule.
Speaking from Doha, Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow said the agreement “means Sudan has embarked on the road to that much-desired democracy that people have been protesting for months, and also it is momentous for the African Union which has mediated between the parties in Sudan.
“This is a new thing that’s coming in the continent – a hybrid transitional authority that has both military officials and civilians working together during a period of transition – so there are bound to teething problems, but then again many people in Sudan are still hopeful that they have come this far.”
In late May, the TMC shut down Al Jazeera’s Khartoum bureau and banned its journalists from reporting from the country.
Army ruler says killing of five schoolchildren ‘regrettable and unacceptable’ as protest leaders cancel planned talks.
military ruler has condemned the killing of five schoolchildren at a rally as protest leaders called off planned talks with the generals and thousands of students took to the streets to denounce the latest bout of violence.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling military council, told reporters on Tuesday the killings in the North Kordofan city of El-Obeid was “unacceptable”.
“What happened in El-Obeid is a regrettable and upsetting matter and the killing of peaceful citizens is unacceptable and rejected and a crime that requires immediate and deterrent accountability,” he was quoted as saying by the official SUNA news agency.
Protesters accuse the feared Rapid Support Forces (RSF) headed by al-Burhan’s deputy, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, of shooting dead the five teenagers at Monday’s rally against shortages of bread and fuel.
The UN children’s agency UNICEF in a statement on Tuesday called on Sudanese authorities “to investigate and hold all perpetrators of violence against children accountable”.
“No child should be buried in their school uniform,” the agency said, adding the students killed were between 15 and 17 years old.
The killings came ahead of planned talks between the ruling Transitional Military Council and protest leaders on the remaining aspects of installing civilian rule following the toppling of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.
The two sides signed a power-sharing agreement on July 17, and were to sit down on Tuesday to discuss the powers of the joint civilian-military ruling council and immunity for generals over previous deadly violence against protesters.
But negotiators for the Forces of Freedom and Change, the umbrella group that represents protest and opposition groups, told AFP news agency that Tuesday’s talks would not take place because they were visiting El-Obeid.
“There will be no negotiation today with the Transitional Military Council as our negotiating team is still in El-Obeid and will return only tonight,” said Satea al-Haj.
Meanwhile, thousands of students – heeding a call for nationwide protests against the El-Obeid “massacre” by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) – rallied in Khartoum and other cities to condemn the violence against their fellow students.
The SPA, which spearheaded the protests against al-Bashir, also called on all schools in North Kordofan state to suspend classes.
Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Addis Ababa in neighbouring Ethiopia, said there was a lot of anger and condemnation on the streets of the capital, Khartoum, because of the renewed violence in El-Obeid.
“But [the protesters] are also condemning the silence of the opposition coalition Forces of Freedom and Change… The protesters are saying these talks have not wielded any results and they’ve been going on for three months.
“People are saying at the moment negotiations are not the way and that what the opposition should focus on is demanding justice and accountability.”
Earlier on Tuesday, a prominent protest leader called for the talks to be suspended.
“We cannot sit at the negotiating table with those allowing the killing of revolutionaries,” Siddig Youssef said in a statement.
Doctors linked to the protest movement say more than 250 people have been killed in protest-related violence since December, when demonstrations first erupted against al-Bashir. More than 100 were killed during and after an RSF raid on a sit-in outside the military headquarters on June 3, they said.
But a joint investigation by prosecutors and the ruling military council concluded just 17 people were killed on June 3, with a total of 87 deaths between that day and June 10.
Protest leaders rejected the findings, saying the inquiry exonerated the military council and gave a far lower death toll than their own.
The investigation “was commissioned by the military council … [but] the military council itself is accused in this case”, SPA said.
Death toll given by senior investigator appointed by public prosecutor is higher than previous official figures.
27 July, 2019
An investigation has found “rogue” military personnel were responsible for killing dozens of Sudanese protesters in the worst violence since the overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir.
The violent break-up of a protest site by security forces in Khartoum last month left 87 people dead and 168 wounded, a higher death toll than previous official estimates, a chief investigator said.
Fath al-Rahman Saeed, the head of the investigative committee appointed by the public prosecutor, said on Saturday some members of the security forces opened fire at protesters demanding the military cede power.
He told a news conference three officers violated orders by moving forces into the sit-in area outside the Defence Ministry, a focal point for protests that led to al-Bashir’s removal on April 11.
An order was also issued to whip demonstrators, he added.
The committee found members of the joint force tasked with clearing the Columbia area “exceeded their duties and entered the sit-in square … and fired heavily and randomly”, leading to the killing and wounding of dozens.
The health ministry previously put the death toll at 61, while opposition medics said 127 people were killed and 400 wounded in the dispersal.
“Some outlaws exploited this gathering and formed another gathering in what is known as the Columbia area, where negative and illegal practices took place,” Saeed said.
“It became a security threat, forcing the authorities to make necessary arrangements to clear the area.”
Crimes against humanity
Ismail al-Taj, an opposition representative, told a news conference the investigative committee “was formed not establish the truth, but to conceal the truth” and he questioned the new death toll.
“Reality says that there are closer to 130 martyrs,” AL-Taj said, adding the committee relied on health ministry records, which he said were inaccurate.
The opposition coalition Forces of Freedom and Change is currently negotiating with the ruling military council to finalise an agreement for a three-year transition to elections.
Saeed gave the ranks and initials of officers he said had been charged with crimes against humanity, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment under military law. He did not give their full names.
A brigadier general, referred to only as AAM, mobilised a riot force of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces on the orders of two senior officers but not members of Sudan’s top leadership, and told them to whip protesters, Saeed said.
The committee had not uncovered any incidents of rape, although the US-based Physicians for Human Rights cited local medics as saying women had their clothes torn off and were raped, he said.
Sudan’s military council, which took power after former military officer-turned-President al-Bashir was deposed, has previously denied any rape took place.
Published: 12:25 BST, 29 July 2019 | Updated: 12:25 BST, 29 July 2019
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met in Cairo Monday, the powerful Sudanese military General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, whose forces have been accused of carrying out a brutal crackdown on protesters.
In his first official visit to the Egyptian capital, the deputy chief of Sudan’s military council widely known as Hemeti, “presented the latest developments on the current situation in Sudan”, the Egyptian presidency said.
Sisi, the former general turned president, reiterated Egypt’s “strategic support” in maintaining “the stability and security” of its neighbour Sudan, the presidency added.
Cairo has been a steadfast ally of Khartoum’s military leaders after long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir was toppled on April 11 after months of protests.
Hemeti, commander of the Rapid Support Forces – the feared paramilitary group accused of war crimes in Darfur under Bashir – has also shored up support from Gulf allies, meeting with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in May.
Triggered in December with the tripling of the price of bread, the protests in Sudan quickly transformed into a challenge to the Bashir regime, in power for 30 years.
Demonstrations continued after his ouster to demand civilian rule.
On June 3, at least 127 protesters were killed and scores wounded in a raid on a sit-in at the epicentre of the demonstrations, according to doctors linked to the protest movement.
A joint probe by prosecutors and Sudan’s ruling military council showed that security forces, including an RSF general, took part in the raid on the protest camp — despite having no orders from their superiors to do so.
Hemeti has consistently denied that his men were involved in the crackdown, which triggered international outrage.
The general’s meeting with Sisi comes a day after Sudanese police fired tear gas at scores of protesters demanding an independent probe into the June raid.
On July 17, Sudanese protesters and ruling generals signed a power-sharing deal that aims to form a joint civilian-military ruling body which in turn would install civilian rule.
Talks are to resume Tuesday to iron out remaining issues between the two sides.
Published: 12:15 BST, 29 July 2019 | Updated: 12:15 BST, 29 July 2019
Five protesters including four students were shot dead and several wounded at a rally in a town in central Sudan on Monday, a doctors committee linked to the protest movement said.
“Five martyrs succumbed to direct wounds from sniper bullets during a peaceful rally in Al-Obeid,” the committee said in a statement.
The reason for the rally was not immediately clear but it came as protest leaders and the ruling generals prepare to resume talks in Khartoum on Tuesday.
The two sides are to meet to resolve remaining issues concerning the transfer of power from the ruling military council to a new civilian administration.
The generals and protest leaders agreed on July 17 to form a new joint civilian-military governing body that would install an overall civilian rule in the country.
That is the main demand of a nationwide protest movement that led to the April ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir and has since demanded that the military council which took his place cede power to civilians.